Bill Moyers Journal: Charlie Wilson

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Bloomberg News reported on October 10, 2001 that after leaving Congress, Charlie Wilson was employed by Pakistan as a lobbyist for which he was paid $30,000 per month. Previously he had been lobbying on behalf of Israeli weapons manufacturers and took over the Pakistani account from Jack Abramoff.

BILL MOYERS: Hollywood last year gave us a record number of movies about war and terrorism but there’s one film we’ll see at the Oscar’s this Sunday night that tells us more about the enemy we’re fighting than it ever intended. CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR was described by its star, Tom Hanks, as a “serious comedy”. It portrays a fun-and-freedom loving communist-loathing Texas congressman, who with the help of earmarks, slipped hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a covert war against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan back in the 1980s.

While the movie has a happy Hollywood ending, the story wasn’t over when the Afghans drove the Russians from their country. In 1988, CBS documented the real Congressman Wilson during a trip to Afghanistan where he was filmed presenting arms to the mujahideen. He even tried one on for size.Those mujahideen fighters did whip the Russians, thanks to the deadly weapons Wilson helped them acquire, especially stinger missiles that brought down Soviet helicopters. But in time those freedom fighters became the Al Qaeda and Taliban who ran Afghanistan as a theocracy and a training camp for Osama bin Laden’s suicide bombers.

Now both the Taliban and Al Qaeda are back… And it’s Americans, not Russians, they want to kill. The war is not going well for Americans and our NATO allies… This week was one of the deadliest yet. Suicide bombings in the country’s largest cities–Kabul and Kandahar–killed over 130 Afghan civilians. The attacks occurred soon after the frank assessment of an independent non-partisan study group that said, in its opening statement: “make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan.” The report lays the blame for the lack of progress on “too few military forces and insufficient economic aid,” and calls for “immediate action and attention in order to prevent a setback to regional and global security.” With conditions worsening Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dropped in for a surprise visit earlier this month and as usual offered a cheery diagnosis.

Added: February 23, 2008


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